Can you just bring your horse to the good tack store in your area (if there are any in your area), and just try bunch of saddles and pads to see which one fits? I know people doing that around here. I have to try that too, but my horse doesn't trailer yet. :)
I had a friend who has custom-made saddle. I did try a saddle. May be it was comfortable for horse, but I ended up without legs (horrible to sit on fast gait :( ).
We have no tack stores like that in our state :(
Everything has to be ordered. I don't necessarily even need a custom saddle - I just want to know that a full or semi QH bars will fit my horse for a particular brand. I have two full QH bars saddles right now - neither fits him - one is much worse than the other. They both pinch in at the shoulders where the conchos are. I don't want to end up with a third saddle that doesn't fit.
Oh I see.. I just looked it's in Alaska. :) We have LOTS of stores around my area (MD), and some of them even fine with you taking saddle home and try, say, on trail.
Have you tried flex-tree? There are different opinions about it and I personally don't believe it fits EVERY horse, but everyone I know never had bad experience with it and it fits wider range of horses. I do use semi-qh saddle (wintec) on my qh, but thinking about buying flex-tree abetta to see whether it'll be better fit for my 2nd horse paint, which is more narrow than my qh.
We had discussion on local forum about western saddles people are using (and liking :) ), and it ended up being Wintec, Abetta, and Circle Y. I also tried Blue Ridge and that was bad experience (slipped off all the time).
I didn't realize that Wintec made western saddles - I will have to look into that.
What I would like to figure out is what companies send you those fitting foams that you return so that they can determine the size of your saddle.
I borrowed a Crates reining saddle that fit him, and it has a product number, so I could order the same one, but I would like more options to choose from :)
One problem my boy seems to have even if a saddle fits, is that they slip back a bit. I am not sure why that happens. He has a decent wither, so saddles don't slip forward, but they do slip back about 4-6 inches from where I set them. One problem might be that I tighten in incraments, not all right at once??
Cant say I have ever ridden in a wintec western saddle..i ride in a wintec gp,and have also ridden in a wintec stock saddle both very comfy and light.
I would say that a wintec western would probably be the way to go as they have the changable gullet system etc.stay away from cheap, nasty indian saddles. I bought a stock saddle of e bay and the tree was all broken, I ended up spending more on getting it fixed than what I payed for the saddle.
With the problem of your saddle slipping back, try using a breast plate.